« November 2006 Table of Contents
Chinese imports keep bay scallop market
- Marianne Deward
November 01, 2006
At a time of overall market fluctuations, bay scallops (
Argopecten irradians ) have for the last two years remained
stable in supply, demand and pricing, and no significant
changes are expected for 2007.
Though bay scallops are sourced domestically in the Atlantic
Ocean from New England to the southern states, more than 90
percent of bays coming into this country are imported from
coastal aquaculture operations in China, where the scallops are
raised on suspension nets. A very small amount of frozen
imports comes sporadically from Argentina, Vietnam and the
China has a fall harvest from October to January and a
spring harvest in April and May.
Prices for Chinese bay scallops have not changed much from
last year. They held steady at $2 to $2.25 for 150-200 meats
per pound, and $2.90 to $3.25 for 60-80s. Larger bay scallops
were in the $4.35 to $4.75 range for 40-60-count.
"Typically under $3 a pound, China bay scallops are a great
value," says Bob Fitzsimmons, president and owner of Trisome
Foods in Stratham, N.H. "Having just met with our China
suppliers, we learned that the bays in this next harvest may be
a bit larger, and the prices may reflect that, but we'll wait
The supply of bays has been steady, and demand, though
strong, has leveled off, says Fitzsimmons. "Bay scallops have
been and will continue to be a popular choice in both retail
and foodservice," he says. "I don't expect any great spikes or
changes in the near future."
Wild bay scallops, also known as Cape Cod or Nantucket bays,
are usually harvested in November and December. This season's
harvest off Nantucket should be good, predicts Debbie Crossman,
frozen-seafood buyer for John Nagle Co., a wholesale
distributor in Boston that sells untreated Chinese bay scallops
and wild-caught domestic bays.
"We watch the supply year to year, because it depends on
changes in the environment," said Crossman. "The demand is more
local but very strong for these particular scallops. Exclusive
clientele, upscale restaurants and specialty seafood markets
In 2006, prices for Nantucket bays ranged from $13 to $15 a
pound for 40-60-count, the same as last year. "We did notice,
however, that [scallops in the overall catch] seemed to be a
bit larger this year than last," Crossman adds. "We don't know
yet what next year's harvest will bring."
For most buyers, calico scallops, harvested primarily in the
warmer waters off Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico, aren't
"Right now there is no significant production of calicos,
and there hasn't been for a few years," says Fitzsimmons. "For
2007, we're looking at a good year for bay scallops on all
fronts." - M.D.